All information copyright to Spud Marshall, Lora Metanchuk and Rebecca Dahl. Research reference list available here.

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Why focus on behaviour change strategies?

In a 2008 poll of US citizens, when asked the question “How significant do you think your personal actions are on the environment?” 72% responded “very or somewhat significant” (Taylor, 2009). Even with this proportion of individuals who understand the impact their decisions have on the planet, many have yet to make substantial effort to change their behaviour. This level of awareness suggests that messages are reaching the public, but failing to resonate and motivate action.

Distributing and packaging the information in order to motivate action is a huge challenge for communications professionals. Interactions between individuals, messages and media are many, complex, and in high competition for attention, so resonating with an audience requires calls to action that are carefully designed.

The relationship between audience and communication is systemic in nature, with many theories and tools addressing individual parts, but few taking a holistic approach. In order to understand the drivers of behaviour change within an audience and how communications can influence this process, we have used the below model to structure how we understand links between key elements. This has centered our research around four focus areas. We hypothesise that communications practice can be strengthened by maintaining a strategic overview of the connections between process elements and the key principles of each.